A Public Agenda for Higher Education in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is engaged in a fierce competition with other states and nations for talent, investment and jobs. The state’s primary assets in this competition are the overall educational level of our people and our workforce and the inventiveness and competence of the creative individuals and organizational leaders who drive our innovation-dependent, knowledge-based economy. Nurturing these assets through education, research and creative activity is the most important contribution of the state’s colleges and universities to the overall well-being of Massachusetts. The Vision Project is the vehicle through which public higher education has come together to stay focused on this work and hold ourselves accountable for results.
A focus on STEM skills is a cross-industry strategy that can advance the preparedness of Massachusetts’ workforce for the jobs that we have today and for future employment opportunities that will be created through innovation and advancement in the sciences.
To focus our activities and track our progress, the Vision Project centers on seven key outcomes in which Massachusetts needs to be a leader among state systems of higher education, the 4th being Workforce Alignment. The Vision Project has identified the STEM disciplines as high-need fields.
While Massachusetts' economy has proved resilient during the recent economic downturn, the state's public colleges and universities are barely keeping pace with the demand for a highly educated workforce. To meet these future workforce needs, the Vision Project is working on two levels.
First, we seek to increase the overall percentage of Massachusetts residents with college degrees because of the strong correlation between high numbers of college graduates and strong economic performance. This goal expresses the importance of a broad liberal education and encompasses all aspects of Vision Project work.
Second, we seek to meet workforce requirements in areas of greatest economic growth. In this second context the Vision Project is pursuing three core goals: